Disorientation to Awe

When I found out that Nelson Mandela didn’t write the, “Our deepest fear…” quote, my mind was blown. I pecked at my keyboard, clicked my mouse, going site to site trying to find evidence that Mandela indeed said these wise words. Like a seven year old watching the mall Santa take off his white wig and beard, I gaped at my computer with wide eyes and a frozen heart. I just found out that Santa Claus is not real.deepest_fear_marianne_willi

I feel foolish. Bamboozled.

How did I not know the real author of my favorite quote? I am a writer, a seeker, a wonderer, an intellectual, a critical thinker, a checker of words…how can this be?

I’ve read this quote in books printed by traditional commercial publishers, and attributed to Nelson Mandela. A more daunting question is what other popular quotes are erroneously attributed?

I have been using this quote for fifteen years. This quote has been posted in my work space for a decade. I’ve given birth to three children and repeated these words to them. I loved when the movies like Akeela and the Bee and Coach Carter used the quote on screen. The quote was supposed to have been written by a world famous South African sage and yet it was written by a middle-aged white female spiritualist. I respect Marianne Williamson’s work. I enjoyed her newest release Tears to Triumph, a useful guide for people who need to do inner work or understand emotional tolls.

mandela_

But knowing the truth about the quote is forcing me to re-orientate myself to the words and their true meaning. They still mean the same thing yet they have a different essence now. They are not words from a world weary, historically oppressed and well-known South African activist.

They are words formed in the mind of a privileged white female with remarkable spiritual insight. My dream of having understood the depth of a great man has been fractured. Even though Mandela did not say it, I am glad someone did; even if that someone is his polar opposite, writer Marianne Williamson.

Barbara Lee, Dennis Kucinich, Marianne Williamson and Lynn Woolsey

Unearthing this truth is leading me toward a better understanding of humanity. Things are messy with us. Although some muddy the water for sport, most humans just simply misunderstand, misjudge, overhear, and just take a guess. The reason society’s fist is so tight around the ideas of ‘proof’ and ‘science’ is because of our tendency to believe inconsistencies, false motives and outright lies. Science and Proof seem to guard us from the horrors of mistakes and deception. But as much as science demystifies, it also generates more questions than it can ever answer. Science knows it’s in over its head. Snafus will happen. So I can be assured that many more will come into my life but I hope that they will all be attributed to the correct source.

America: crazy people with guns

Another mass shooting. When, oh when will America understand that mental health and weaponry don’t mix?

 

A cousin of mine was shot to death. I had a shot gun pointed at my face once. I’ve been shot at as I stood on my front porch as a teenager. All my experiences with guns have been negative, scary, and lasting.  I suppose NRA members and “responsible” gun owners have heartfelt stories to tell about their love affairs with their 9 mm Beretta’s. I unfortunately have a hate-hate relationship with weaponry.MP900315556

Give a gun to a mentally unstable person and you get Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson Arizona, Omaha Nebraska, Henderson Kentucky, and that Pennsylvania Amish school. The trouble with gun law is that people are probably not crazy when they legally purchased their guns.  Declining mental health dilapidates in spells.  A bipolar person is not manic every day. A depressed individual may have days where he feels like his life is going okay. No one truly knows if their put-together next door neighbor who works as an accountant is capable of pulling his 45 out of a locked box and then walking outside and start shooting at random cars passing by.

Afghanistan and Syria have terrorists; groups of trained vigilante killers who cause havoc to all who oppose their laws. America has the mentally disturbed; typically single white males who feel underscored, failed, or simply confused about the capitalist society in which they dwell.

A terrorist is a terrorist no matter what his evil purpose appears to be, but still I can’t help but wonder what’s crazy American Joe Smith’s purpose? What is he avenging? Protecting? Fighting for?

America: crazy people with guns

A cousin of mine was shot to death. I had a shot gun pointed at my face once. I’ve been shot at as I stood on my front porch as a teenager. All my experiences with guns have been negative, scary, and lasting.  I suppose NRA members and “responsible” gun owners have heartfelt stories to tell about their love affairs with their 9 mm Beretta’s. I unfortunately have a hate-hate relationship with weaponry.MP900315556

Give a gun to a mentally unstable person and you get Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson Arizona, Omaha Nebraska, Henderson Kentucky, and that Pennsylvania Amish school. The trouble with gun law is that people are probably not crazy when they legally purchased their guns.  Declining mental health dilapidates in spells.  A bipolar person is not manic every day. A depressed individual may have days where he feels like his life is going okay. No one truly knows if their put-together next door neighbor who works as an accountant is capable of pulling his 45 out of a locked box and then walking outside and start shooting at random cars passing by.

Afghanistan and Syria have terrorists; groups of trained vigilante killers who cause havoc to all who oppose their laws. America has the mentally disturbed; typically single white males who feel underscored, failed, or simply confused about the capitalist society in which they dwell.

A terrorist is a terrorist no matter what his evil purpose appears to be, but still I can’t help but wonder what’s crazy American Joe Smith’s purpose? What is he avenging? Protecting? Fighting for?

The Void

My mother comes to me in dreams.  She is present in almost every dream that I have.  I wonder if this is just me missing her or if she is truly visiting me in this mystical way; perhaps it is a manifestation of both.

how do you move forward without anyone to nudge you?

how do you move forward without anyone to nudge you?

Fourteen years later, I still feel the shock of my mother’s death.  The pain of death never quite goes away, it dulls and numbs but it is still there.  The void of a missing piece looms over me raining its funereal rays down, following me around as I do life.  Most days I feel severed, like a feather blowing in the wind.  It started as soon as my mother’s funeral came to a close.

I became obsessed with job hopping.  I worked as a receptionist, a mail sorter, food service worker,  bus girl, catalogue customer service representative, credit card customer service representative, and a few others.  I thought that a job could give me the security that I needed to cope with my empty life.  No job seemed to soothe my aching soul.  I found all the positions boring and the environments hostile.

When I realized that a job couldn’t comfort me I indulged in an unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic.  My boyfriend I and moved in together and he helped me create a pseudo haven of security.  I needed something real and tangible to grab onto and hold.  He was there every day when I returned from work.  He stayed around never straying away from home for any reason.

I counted on him to be there for me and he was.  The drinking escalated as the years passed.  He was up to six beers per day and by nighttime he was so inebriated that he couldn’t speak in full sentences. One night I sat up thinking about how screwed up we both were.  Essentially we were two depressed people in isolation.

I began to see my boyfriend in a new way.  He wasn’t helping me to move forward, he was impelling me to stay put.  I was wallowing in my grief and I had company to wallow with.  Both of us struggled with abandonment issues, me from losing my mother and him from never knowing who his father was.  He said his mother, who was still living, refused to give him any information about his dad.  I thought this was very sad, he must have felt utterly abandoned by a father who is either dead or living some life without him.

We weren’t living, we simply existed.

I realized that a stable job and boyfriend wasn’t quelling my empty soul.  I was stuck, suspended in the air half way toward heaven but still close to earth.  After I rubbed my eyes and peeked out the door into the world I remembered that I had dreams.  I remembered that before my mother died, I was going to enroll in college and get a degree in social work.  I remembered that I wanted to work in the field for five years and then get to work on a non-fiction self-help book for urban teenagers.

I dreamed of the condo that I would live in.  I would buy it with the money I earned from book sales.  I was a young adult and I dreamed big.  Then I looked around and saw myself in this ratty old one bedroom apartment with moldy walls.  I lived with an unemployed alcoholic and neither one of us was working towards anything in life.

When my mother died, so did I; emotionally.  I went numb and stopped living.  I knew what I needed to do at this point.  I broke up with my boyfriend and asked him to find a place of his own.  I needed to be alone.  I needed to work on my plans for the future.  I needed to live.